News Rohan Glynn with his two Dalmations and German Pointer

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure for a big surprise – especially if you have dogs.

On the ascent: Brae Hill (blue cap) wins the Lincoln from Mull Of Killough

Brae Hill clings on to land first Lincoln for Fahey

Before the Lincoln Handicap, the first leg of the traditional spring double, was run here yesterday, bookmakers were already in pocket over the second, the Grand National. And a day that began badly for punters with the defection of the well-backed ante-post Aintree favourite, Prince De Beauchene, carried on in similar vein. The first winner of the domestic turf season, Norse Blues, started at 50-1 and the Lincoln went to 25-1 shot Brae Hill.

Mickael Barzalona celebrates

Barzalona has the world at his feet after Dubai success

Frenchman's latest big-race victory seals his place as the successor to Dettori at Godolphin

Reay: he directed specially treated blood bags to be dropped on Port Stanley

Lieutenant General Sir Alan Reay: Soldier who fought cutbacks

Not a drop was spilt of the blood parachuted down on to Port Stanley during the Falklands War in 1982 by Sir Alan Reay's Army Medical Services, but at home his personal rearguard action against a thousand cuts was to end a heroic failure.

Cattle virus hits nine more farms

Nine more farms in England have been hit by the Schmallenberg virus, the midge-borne livestock infection that can cause birth deformities in lambs and calves.

Trainer Paul Nicholls (far right) looks on as head lad Clifford Baker and groom Rose Loxton parade King George VI Chase winner Kauto Star around his home village of Ditcheat yesterday

Kauto Star '50-50' for Gold Cup

Kauto Star is only "50-50" to make the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after a fall when schooling last week, according to trainer Paul Nicholls.

Poisonous snakes found in luggage at Buenos Aires airport 

A man tried to board a plane in Argentina with almost 250 poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles in his baggage, each meticulously labelled with its Latin name.

Anger as badger culling given go-ahead for next year

Animal welfare campaigners say they will challenge badger culling in England after trials were given the go-ahead by the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman.

Derek Pain: Composter is down in the dumps but vet firm has legs

It's about time I reinforced the no pain, no gain portfolio. I have decided to recruit two contrasting shares – one down in the dumps, the other riding relatively high. They are both small caps that, I hope, will not be too troubled by the recessionary climate and could, with a little luck, emerge as valuable constituents.

Storie-Pugh: Dapper, with great energy and a charismatic personality

Dr Peter Storie-Pugh: Colditz prisoner who became a leading veterinary surgeon

There's a photograph in the small museum at Colditz Castle, Germany, which shows three prisoners after their failed attempt to escape from that notorious Second World War prison for Allied officers. In the centre, with a broad grin on his face, is a young Peter Storie-Pugh. He had been incarcerated since 1940, having been wounded and earning a Military Cross during the retreat to Dunkirk; he was captured, sent to Spangenberg prisoner-of-war camp, escaped, was recaptured and sent to Colditz. He remained there until the end of the war.

Professor William Jarrett: Celebrated veterinary scientist

When William Weipers was appointed director of the Glasgow veterinary school on its absorption into Glasgow University in 1949 he recruited a team of bright young graduates who earned Glasgow a unique place in the scientific spectrum. One of this group was William Fleming Jarrett. Jarrett, universally known as Bill, went on to establish an international reputation for his work on the viruses causing cancer – work that led to major developments in the treatment of the disease in animals and humans. He was instrumental in developing the research that identified the viruses causing leukaemia and Aids.

Zoo slaughter puts lax ownership laws in activists' sights

The deaths of nearly 50 wild animals, freed by their owner who then killed himself, spotlights flaws in US legislation

Scandal of the private zoo that ended in slaughter

Their owner freed them moments before his suicide. Now the hunting of scores of wild animals has shocked Ohio and America

Mental illness care 'close to a revolution'

A revolution in the treatment of psychiatric disorders involving the use of video games, brain surgery, new forms of therapy and drugs will transform the care of the mentally ill in the coming decades, America's leading expert in the field has said.

Zoology

Avian flu's back, warns UN – and new strain is resistant to vaccines

Fears of a fresh outbreak of bird flu this winter have been raised by the United Nations, after an increase in the number of deaths and, crucially, the emergence of a new, mutated strain of the disease.

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How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
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The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
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Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
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Blackest is the new black

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Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
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Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
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Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

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Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

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Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

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The Open 2014

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